A love affair, with music
There’s a big difference between singing in the hallway at Cannon Residence Hall and singing opera in New York City, but that’s the unlikely path taken by Adrienne Metzinger ’98.
“I was the ‘Mary Poppins’ of Cannon” her freshman year, Metzinger says. But she considered herself an actress – “I could mimic singers, like Julie Andrews or Shirley Jones” – rather than a singer.
Then one day Luanne Crosby, professor of music, heard her imitations. “She told me I needed to be in her office Monday to discuss voice lessons,” Metzinger recalls. She continued throughout her time at Alfred.
As a graphic design student under Fred Troller, professor of design with a reputation as an exacting taskmaster, much of Metzinger’s time was spent in the studio.
Whatever free time she had was spent with the Chamber Singers; the Segues, a female a cappella group; and with the cast of Friday Night Live. “I had so much fun with Friday Night Live,” she said. “Most of my good friends from Alfred are people I met through Friday Night Live.”
A week before graduation in May 1998, Amy Lindenbaum ’98 and Metzinger were on their way to New York City when they were in a “terrible car accident,” she recalled. Metzinger broke her back, and spent the next year living at home in Rochester recuperating.
By the following year, though, she was ready to try New York City again, prompted by an invitation from Rebecca Schneider Kessler ’98, who was looking for a new roommate. Metzinger gave herself a week to interview and find a job. Her first was with Stan Adler Associates, where creative director Stan Adler told her to go through the rest of her interviews, then come back to see him on Friday when he was prepared to offer her a job. She did and she’s been there since, advancing to become design director for the agency. “I have been there 11 years. That’s unheard of in New York,” said Metzinger.
“I am really thankful I studied under Fred Troller (He retired in 2001 and died of cancer the following year),” Metzinger said. “I was so much ahead” of designers who had graduated from other programs. “What he taught was really valuable. Sometimes, when I am designing, I can still hear his voice in my head.”
Meanwhile, though, she hadn’t forgotten about singing.
She joined the chorus of an opera company in Brooklyn led by conductor Sung Jin Hong.
They began dating, and 10 years ago, created One World Symphony , with Hong as the artistic director and conductor, and Metzinger as managing director, stage director and graphic designer, as well as a performer. “It’s a nice balance for me,” said Metzinger, allowing her to explore all facets of her creativity.
What started as a “very small chamber ensemble” has grown to an orchestra that averages about 65 musicians, and grows to more than 90 when performing pieces such as Igor Stravinsky’s classic “Rite of Spring.”
One World Symphony has gained critical acclaim from the New York Times and the Korea Herald, and is consistently named “Critics’ pick” by Time Out New York magazine.
One World Symphony made its Town Hall debut in March 2006, in a sold-out performance, but the excitement of the debut was overshadowed for Metzinger by what happened as the concert was coming to an end.
“At the end of the performance, in front of 1,600 people,” Hong proposed to Metzinger. “I have never been so surprised! I didn’t have a clue,” she said.
They were married in October that year, with the entire orchestra performing at the wedding.